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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June Is Internet Safety Month

It's Internet Safety Month!

Every month parents and children should be implementing their online safety skills, however we recognize that June is the month that we should take extra time to learn more about what's going on with your child's digital lives by going dark!

That's it!  Go Dark for Dinner is the campaign for June - it's all about unplugging and actually communicating.  Offline parenting is key to online safety.  It's key for your child making better online choices they are faced with daily; especially in times when you can't be there.

Think about Internet Safety Month as a time to disconnect and connect at the dinner table.  Chat about your digital lives and your offline lives.  Get to know each other -- in real life!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer 2015: GeckoLife For Your Family Memories

Most people, especially parents and teens, will be oversharing their summer experiences on social media.

We have become almost immune to people telling us what they are eating or even when they decide to go to the park.  Things we used to do without broadcasting to the world wide web.  Sure, we assume our privacy controls and filters are all in place - but are they truly working the way we believe they are?

Hopefully they are, but how many times have people been caught with their hand in the cookie jar (hypothetically speaking) or literally with their pants down?

We all need to be aware that your digital image today is usually the first impression people will have of you.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Learn more about GeckoLife - an opportunity to share safely and privately.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Average Text Is Only Five Seconds: Distracted Driving Kills

Summer break is around the corner - Memorial Weekend, July 4th and many other fun times that young drivers will be taking to the road.  However it is not only our youth that can be guilty of distracted driving.

Parents and adults can believe that quick glance at their phone or text and it will be okay.

Sometimes it is - and other times - it simply isn't.

Pass this video to your friends and family.  Think before you get into your car with your cell phone by your side.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Social Media Helpline for Kids Launching In Schools

With 92% of middle and high school students online daily, 24% of them "almost constantly,"* it's time schools had some help with social media! The Helpline's developers – #iCANHELP and Net Family News Inc. – invite you to contribute to a fundraising campaign at The goal of the campaign is $25,000 to cover "construction costs" for piloting in California next school year – Web site construction, communications tools and staff training.
"The helpline will be the hub of a whole help ecosystem," said Matt Soeth, co-founder of #iCANHELP, "with real-time, research-based advice, help in reporting and escalating abuse in social media services, a directory of school policy and investigation resources and a growing, searchable database of school social media case studies."
"Contributions big or small are huge to the helpline," said Anne Collier, president of San Jose-based Net Family News. "This is about growing the digital literacy and citizenship of all members of school communities.”
Here's what we're talking about:
  • A call center-plus: Schools can call during school hours for real-time help, but the Web site – which will include links to sources of specialized help and a directory of resources for prevention, incident response and policymaking – is 24/7/365. To be added as cases come in: an ever-growing searchable database of anonymized school case studies. The Helpline will also be a source of metrics & trends in school online safety issues for educators, researchers, policymakers and parents.
  • Schools not individuals – We'll refer individuals to other great sources of help, but this helpline's specifically for schools. If a member of a school community has a problem, we'll ask him or her to work with us through their school.
  • Working with social media: We'll help schools navigate sites and apps, report abuse and get content taken down that violates Terms of Service, providing the industry with much-needed local context as a trusted intermediary.
  • Part of a global network of helplines in other countries that help each other and, with a growing collective knowledge base, help users resolve problems in a global medium.
  • Unique among helplines in approaching students as part of the solution and building on established student leadership education and peer-mentoring practices.
  • Deep Internet safety experience: Builds on more than 15 years in the Internet safety space, working with practitioners and researchers and advising Internet companies.
About us: Net Family News is a San Jose, Calif.-based national nonprofit organization founded in 1999 to educate the public and advise the Internet industry about research and developments in technology related to youth. #iCANHELP is a Bay Area-based national nonprofit organization that creates and promotes positive, school-based solutions & interventions to anti-social behavior online.

Please make a donation to the iCanHelpline campaign at
*Pew Research Center's 2015 "Teens, Social Media & Technology" study

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Frienedy: A Social Media Site for All Ages

Frienedy is the first site of its kind that lets users of all ages manage life in groups. Engineered with parental permissions at the core, the company has created a private online environment that leverages parental engagement for users under 13 to guide the social media experience. Frienedy offers users of all ages a web application that provides private group communication.
Until now, there has been a void in the social networking space both for users under age 13 as well as for managing content and social feeds for groups of all types.  
According to Founder and CEO, Janel Patterson, "Kids are getting online much younger than they were when today's social networking norms were first established, which has led to a rise in cyber bullying and cyber predators. Parents need a tool that enables them to proactively introduce social media to their children when they decide the time is right- and before kids go out and discover it themselves. At Frienedy, our core mission is to prevent cyber bullying before it starts and to eliminate the risk of children becoming victims of cyber predators."
There is also a market for managing social feeds and content for groups that have members of all ages. According to Jake Giganti, COO for Frienedy, "I grew up on social media. I never saw an easy way to manage all of the events and social feeds and basic information for every group I was part of growing up. Not just my soccer team and classes, but my different groups of friends. And, now as an adult, I have even more social groups I'm part of and need to stay engaged with. Frienedy Groups solves this problem- but more compellingly- for users of all ages." Groups can communicate privately and maintain practice or meeting schedules, classroom assignments, youth group activities, photos, videos, documents, even trigger last minute notifications. Frienedy is the way to manage all of this - and for younger users, under discreet parental oversight.  
Frienedy includes a robust events calendar for managing group events and a shopping list feature called WishList to promote user engagement. Mobile apps are currently in development, and the website is currently mobile responsive for any device. You can sign up for a free account by going to
About Frienedy
Frienedy, LLC ( was founded in 2013 as a safe, private group networking community designed for users and groups of all ages. Frienedy complies with COPPA standards for users under 13, enabling a revolutionary new way for people of all ages to connect, share and interact safely and privately in all of life's Groups.
Contact: Janel Patterson
Frienedy, LLC
Phone: (636) 542-0540

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mother's Day Gift Idea: #MyMomRocks Challenge

Don't miss the #iCANHELP #MyMomRocks Challenge that starts May 1st, 2015!

National nonprofit #icanhelp is launching a campaign for Mother’s Day to show that My Mom Rocks. During the month of May we want you to share all of the great things that your mom does or has done to make your life awesome. This event kicks off on May 1, 2015. So be sure to share how much your mom rocks and be a positive warrior on the web.
  1. Change your profile picture to your mom.
  2. Share a story about your mom.
  3. Share the #icanhelp Mom Video and write a compliment about your mom
  4. Text your mom and tell her how much you appreciate her.
  5. Always use #mymomrocks #icanhelp.
About #icanhelp
Kim Karr & Matt Soeth co-founded a program called #iCANHELP. Inspired by a concerned student after a fake and damaging Facebook page that was created about local teacher, Kim realized that STUDENTS WANTED TO DO SOMETHING about all the bullying and negativity on social media sites. The #iCANHELP message is clear- one person has the power to make a difference and delete negativity online and in his or her life. #icanhelp has traveled all over California speaking to middle and high schools rallying POSITIVE WARRIORSwho are ready to combat negativity.
#iCANHELP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
To learn more about this event, please contact:
Matthew Soeth
Office: 925.202.1112

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

What is child abuse?

Today child abuse is not only viewed as physical maltreatment and sexual molestation, we are now dealing with bullying and with the expansion of technology we have online bullying.

Learning about prevention and awareness is key to keeping our communities and children safer.

Resources to learn more:
Monique Burr Foundation
Child Prevention Month

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Order today!
By Galit Breen

When I wrote Kindness Wins, a guide for teaching our kids how to be kind online, the (truly) only backlash I heard was that kids who bully come from parents who bully, so teaching kindness won’t help. I disagree. Here’s why.

The theory that bullies raise bullies is one we’ve all heard and that is, indeed, sometimes true. Cruelty is taught, mimicked, and learned.

But online cruelty is different.

We’re the first generation of parents raising digital kids without having been digital kids ourselves. When trying to help our kids maneuver online, we can’t fall back on our own experiences or what our parents and teachers told us—because we weren’t online as impulsive kids.

Our kids are still learning to filter their thoughts, to think of others first, to consider the far-reaching consequences of their actions. They’re experimenting and learning and making mistakes and trying again. In other words, they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. But the immediacy of the online world makes it very, very difficult for them to do this without hurtful repercussions for themselves or for others.

The real reason many kids are unkind online is because they haven’t been directly taught how to maneuver online kindly. And the real reason most parents aren’t doing this teaching is because they don’t realize they need to.

Online kindness is the new must-have talk with our kids. If the after school specials of our youth were still around, online kindness would be a series.

In my decade of being a classroom teacher, I learned that the most effective way to teach anything new is to directly introduce the concept, allow for practice, and then revisit and fine-tune the lessons based on what was learned and what wasn’t.

We would never show our kids a car, give them one driving lesson, hand them keys, and wish them luck. Cyberbullyng, teen depression, and suicide statistics tell us that teaching online kindness is just as vital.

So in the same vein, we can’t tell our kids to be nice online once, hand them a phone and social media passwords, and cross our fingers and hope they’ll be okay.

We have to talk specifics. We have to sit down and show them how loud the Internet is, that there’s a person on the other side of the screen, how to disagree with someone respectfully online. We have to practice—test drive—online kindness with them. These lessons come in bite-size pieces. Short, direct, and repeated conversations. We have to continually check in—and on—our kids’ online use to make sure they’re safe online, of course. But also to make sure that they’re being kind. Every kid will a make mistake or two or ten. We can’t make them infallible, but we can help them learn.

This is why I wrote Kindness Wins. Not because I don’t understand the reality that some kids are raised in homes where cyberbullying would be accepted as okay behavior. But because I don’t think this is the norm. I believe most of us are doing the absolute best we can with what we know. And once we know better, we can choose to do better.

So the one thing you can do right now to help with cyberbullying is to commit to having direct conversations with your kids or your students or your peers about how to be kind online. We don’t have to agree on the details, just that the conversation is worthy. This is how we can create a culture where cyberbullying is the outlier and online kindness is the expected norm.

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. Galit was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development. Her writing has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously spoiled miniature golden doodle. Galit blogs at and tweets at @GalitBreen.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Warnings Signs of Digital Dating Abuse

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Dating violence is no longer about physical and verbal abuse.  With the growth of digital age, people can be victims of online attacks and cruelty.

What is digital abuse?

Learn more at 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

National Drug Facts Week 2015

National #DrugsFactWeek  is January 26 - February 1, 2015 this year.

Although parents, teacher, and communities should be bringing awareness to drug abuse 365 days a year, it is a great time to focus on a variety of substances you may not be aware of - possible new trends or things kids are doing today that you don't know about.

What National Drugs Facts Week?

National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is an annual health observance week for teens to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. NDFW centers on community events for teens, NIDA’s Drug Facts Chat Day, and partnerships.
Events: Locally planned and hosted school and community events focus on providing teens the scientific facts about drugs.
Drug Facts Chat Day: During this annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists, students from around the country ask the questions they most want answers to about drugs and drug abuse, including drug effects, how to help friends or family that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. Our expert scientists give them the facts.

Partnerships: NIDA works with leading organizations, media outlets, and other Government agencies to spread the word about NDFW and shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Step-Families are Special: Find Out Why

Honey Maid believes that just because a family is broken up, doesn't mean it's broken.

#NotBroken Keys  - pass it on.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School: Starting Kindness Clubs

Schools will be opening throughout our country shortly.

Most schools have implemented anti-bullying policies – and hopefully many have anti-bullying clubs.

Anti-bullying Clubs are now being switched up to Kindness Clubs.
This is a great idea since kindness a direct way to combat bullying.  Finding small ways each day to help someone feel good – or finding community projects your club can participate in, spreading kindness needs to be a way of life.
As school opens find out how you can start a Kindness Club in your school or class this year.  Ask your teacher or guidance counselor.  Get your friends motivated and start by listing how you can spread kindness each day:
  • Tell a teacher you appreciate them
  • Help a student that is being tormented, be an upstander
  • Pass out flyers on bullying and cyberbullying prevention
  • Leave messages for someone that is feeling down, let them know they are not alone
  • Leave messages ‘just because’ it’s nice to do – lift others up everyday
  • Tell a janitor what a good job they did
  • Smile at people – let them know you notice them
  • Make time for those that seem lonely, introduce yourself
  • Offer to tutor students that are struggling academically
  • Compliment others, (their hair, clothes, their smile) – be kind – it matters
  • Eat lunch with new people
  • Be sure new students don’t feel like strangers
  • Look for community projects to participate in – visiting nursing homes, assisted living centers and teaching them about cyberspace!  CyberSeniors love meeting cyber-mentors!
Need some inspiration?  Visit these websites for ideas: Spark Kindness, Ripple Kindness, iCanHelp, Random Act of Kindness, KindnessCounts, and Pennies of Time.